Chris O (follow on Twitter: @COakleyFtbl)
Thu 15 May 2008

Tommy Burns (1956 - 2008)

It's with great sadness that we bring you the news today that Tommy Burns, legendary footballer and later manager of Celtic, has died aged 51 from skin cancer.

Burns had been receiving treatment for the condition since 2006 and despite early signs of improvement, the cancer returned in March of this year.

Tommy Burns will forever remain one of the greatest players ever to pull on the hooped jersey of Celtic following a career that lasted fourteen years. As a midfielder for the Glasgow club, he made his debut in 1975 and went on to play 352 matches for them, scoring 52 goals.

Having ended his playing days at Kilmarnock between 1989 and 1994, Burns returned to Celtic as manager where he developed a side renowned for playing attractive football. With Rangers dominating the Scottish Premier League at the time, Burns was to move onto Newcastle United where he worked alongside manager Kenny Dalglish and then to Reading where he became manager in his own right.

In 2002, Berti Vogts appointed Burns as assistant manager with the Scottish national team, a position he retained when Walter Smith succeeded Vogts in 2004. In more recent years Burns returned to Celtic again, working in Youth Development before becoming First Team coach under Gordon Strachan.

Among the first to pay tribute to Tommy Burns, Peter Rafferty, chairman of the Association of Celtic Supporters' Clubs, said:

"I knew Tommy very well both as a friend and obviously through his connections with Celtic. I got to know him over many years. He was a true gentleman and a big family man.

"Celtic was a big part of his life but the biggest part of his life was his family. He became a grandfather a few weeks ago and that is the biggest tragedy.

"Legend is a word that is used quite a lot these days but he was. He was a great player with Celtic first and foremost. He was a manager who played football the way Celtic supporters like to see it.

"All these things pale into insignificance this morning. He was a very nice person, a very religious person. If you needed anything, Tommy Burns would always be there for you."

We send our condolences to the family of Tommy Burns and share our sympathies with all Celtic fans on this sad day.

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